Frequently Asked Questions

How does STEP-UP Chattanooga benefit students?

STEP-UP Chattanooga allows students to explore career interests, gain valuable work readiness training and on-the-job experience in a professional work environment, earn up to $2,000 over the summer, and become better prepared for future careers or college. 

How does the STEP-UP Chattanooga program work?
  • School Counselors and College & Career Advisors recommend students with: good attendance, on-track to graduate, positive behavior.

  • Students complete a STEP-UP online application. Our 2021-2022 application will open soon for new and returning students.

  • Students who completed the application process are contacted by STEP-UP Chattanooga about next steps.

  • Applicants participate in mandated work-readiness training, mock interviews and networking activities.

  • Interns are matched with jobs based on their skills and interest, and the needs of the employer.

  • Interns are interviewed and hired by their employer.

  • Summer interns work at their summer job from June to early-August and earn at least $7.25 per hour.

Who's eligible to participate in STEP-UP Chattanooga?

Ambitious students who are: (1) currently enrolled in a Hamilton County high school with positive behavior; (2) will be 16 by June 1, 2021; (3) have financial need OR on free/reduced lunch; (4) have good school attendance record.  For other eligibility questions, contact Janice Neal at janice@pefchattanooga.org.  

How do students apply for STEP-UP?

Please see For Interns page. The online application for our 2022 summer program will open soon for returning students and newly-nominated students. For more information, contact Janice Neal at 423-668-2423 or janice@pefchattanooga.org.  

What is Work Readiness Training?

Work Readiness training is a critical part of the STEP-UP Chattanooga experience that provides interns with the skills they need to be successful in their summer internships and future job searches. This required training includes:

  • Creating strong résumés

  • Dressing properly for any job opportunity

  • Communicating professionally with supervisors and co-workers

  • Responsible use of technology

  • The essentials of building a professional network

  • Preparing for successful job interviews (each participant does a mock interview with a business professional)

If a student fails to show up to training on their scheduled date or is late without prior permission, they will be dropped from STEP-UP Chattanooga and will not be eligible for a summer job.

Can students participate in other summer activities while in STEP-UP?

Yes. STEP-UP Chattanooga internships will be part-time jobs (at least 20 hours) that generally take place on weekdays between 8 am and 6 pm. A student's ability to get a job will be limited if they have other daytime commitments, however, we make every effort to accommodate intern schedules.

How are student interns matched with jobs?

Interns are matched with jobs based on their interests, skills, and availability. We do our best to match interns with their work preferences. Students may not get their 1st choice, however, all jobs are relevant and will give students valuable experience in developing transferable skills. All STEP-UP Chattanooga students will be employed by companies and organizations that require them to be legally eligible to work in the United States.

Are interns employed by STEP-UP Chattanooga?

STEP-UP Chattanooga is not the official employer. Most interns are hired directly by the company with which they are placed. If concerns arise and a student is unable to resolve these issues, or needs additional support, contact STEP-UP staff for assistance.